A Career Without Limits

Judy Henriquez-Valerio, RN, BSN, continues to excel and grow as an advocate for VHP patients

Judy Henriquez-Valerio, RN, BSN, has risen through several roles at Valley Health Partners (VHP), bringing administrative skills and more than 15 years in nursing to her current role as manager of the VHP Enabling Services department.

She also brings a passion for the care of the vulnerable populations VHP serves and a deep understanding of their needs and struggles.

“I have a passion for this work,” she says. “I came from the Dominican Republic. I wasn’t English-speaking, and I struggled growing up. I was the first in my family to go to college.”

“When patients come to VHP, they are not only meeting with someone who speaks their language but also someone who understands them,” she says.

As manager of Population Health at VHP, she oversees the clinical side of the operation, including social workers, nurse care managers, Population Health and the Transitions of Care call center.

“When patients come to VHP, they are not only meeting with someone who speaks their language but also someone who understands them,” she says.

Henriquez-Valerio is one of many bilingual VHP colleagues who join with interpreters throughout its clinics to tackle the language barrier faced by patients with limited English proficiency.

“We have a huge Spanish-speaking population,” she says. VHP offers one clinic, Centro de Salud, that is dedicated to Latino patients.

VHP transitioned in 2020 to become a nonprofit organization recognized as a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike. Its departments serve the health care needs of thousands of families, children, women, veterans and the unsheltered in the Lehigh Valley, giving care without regard for patients’ ability to pay.

A key objective of VHP, she says, is to tackle the many social, economic and cultural obstacles that negatively affect health outcomes for these vulnerable populations. Among those social determinants of health, transportation issues in the Lehigh Valley are recognized as a major barrier to patients needing health care.

VHP is tackling the transportation barrier by entering a new partnership to provide no-cost trips to and from its medical clinics for patients in need. 

Henriquez-Valerio, who began working as a technical partner at Lehigh Valley Health Network at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg in her early 20s, says she decided to go to nursing school after observing student nurses. She obtained her associate degree in nursing (ADN) at Lehigh Carbon Community College and her BSN at Pennsylvania College of the Sciences. A mother of three, she’s currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Nursing program at Drexel University.

Her challenging workload and family obligations have not deterred her.

“It has been difficult,” she says, “but anything is possible.”

“You are the one who limits yourself.”

 

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